Most of us have them, small pigmented cells on our skin that are known as moles. They may appear alone or in clusters. Most moles change a little and size and appearance over the years, and most are harmless. However, there are warning signs that indicate when it is time to have your moles examined by a doctor.
Some moles are a type of melanoma, skin cancer that can be life threatening. If you have a suspicious mole it is important that you have it checked by a doctor immediately.
Doctors are most concerned with moles that appear different that other moles on the body or moles that suddenly appear after the age of 20. (Although there are some exceptions to moles over 7mm that appear at birth.)
Keep an eye on moles and if you see a change in a mole’s color height, size, or shape it is time to have it checked by a doctor. Pay special attention to moles that are exposed to continuous sunlight. Moles that bleed, ooze, itch, or are tender should be examined by a physician.
The Doctors television program presented an ABCDE Warning Signs of Melanoma to help monitor and manage moles and mole growth and change. The warning signs include asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolving. Each of these is explained below.
Warning Signs that Moles may be Melanoma
In general, moles that are harmless are symmetrical. Looking at a line down the center of a mole would create what appears to be mirror images. If one side is larger or misshapen the mole should be checked by a physician.
Pay attention to the boarder of your moles.
Like the symmetry requirement, the border of the mole will generally be even and smooth if it is harmless. If the mole has uneven boarders, making it asymmetrical, appears scalloped or notched it is time to consult a doctor.
What color is your mole?
Moles appear in a wide variety of colors. Each mole, however, should be uniform in color. If a mole has varying shades of brown, black, or red it should be examined by a doctor.
Take note of how large your mole is.
Moles appear on the skin in many different sizes. Some harmless moles can be large, but in general if you have a mole that is larger than 7mm, or the size of a pencil eraser, it should be checked out by a doctor.
Has your mole evolved and changed?
Moles that change in size, color, or height should be seen by a doctor.
While most moles are harmless, any mole that meets the above criteria should be seen by a doctor. Aberrant moles may turn into melanoma, which is a life threatening form of skin cancer.
Moles, Freckles, and Skin Tags; Webmd
Show Synopsis: The Mole, The Doctors